Friday, June 28, 2013

What a difference a year makes

Well, Summer's here again and the temperatures are starting to heat up.  Yesterday was our hottest temp so far this year at 94 degrees.  I know it sounds hot.  Just remember where we were one year ago.  We were just starting the heat wave of 2013, we were getting ready to see temperatures we had never experienced before in this region (19 degrees warmer than yesterday) and we were in the 6th week of a drought.

Last year we were so busy with the drought and the fairways and the tees were in such poor shape that we did not aerify either one of them.  Shortly after the heat wave we got a massive amount of rain for a few days.  the fairways and tees turned out to be great through the end of the season.  Well we have had an ample amount of rainfall this season (no droughts here), and the temperatures have been moderate.  So we have gotten to perform some cultural practices that we couldn't do last year.  We have completed the fairway aerification plan and we are in the process of wrapping up the tee box aerification plan.

Our tee box aerification plan is almost identical to our fairway aerification plan with the exception of the machine that we use to pull plugs and the hole size.

Our tee plan we use 5/8" tines on a 2.5" spacing.  Fortunately, our tees for the most part were constructed with a sand cap.  This means that when we pull the plugs and let them dry for a few minutes, when we hit them with a metal drag mat the sand breaks off of the plant and works back in to the surface.  This leaves only the leftover plant material to deal with.  we simply take a turbine blower and push the leftover vegetation into the roughs.  A little bit of water and were done.  Below is a short video of Spencer running the aerifier on #16 Tees.

Our Fairway plan is slightly different, same process (core, drag, blow).  We use an old fairway aerifier that we pull with a tractor.  the holes are 1" on a 6" spacing.  The soils in our fairways are clay.  so they have to have some moisture in them to be able to break up with a drag mat.  We have to wait until the day after a rain event so that the clay is not rock hard when it comes out of the ground.  After they are out of the ground we drag them and blow off the vegetation.  I kind of like our old fairway aerifier in our heavy clay soils.  the way it works the tine goes in the soil at about a 10 degree angle and it comes out at the reverse 10 degree angle,  so it has to fracture the areas around it due to its movement below the surface.  So the effected area in the soil would be closer to 2.5".

I know that everyone hates the dreaded "A" word.  but it really does make us have a better playing surface in the long run, and who knows, maybe one day we will get to backfill the holes in the fairways with sand.